Wednesday, September 14, 2016

From Research Hub To Vibrant Communities: Building a True 'Park' For Research

As research parks have sprouted across the country and around the world, universities and developers have made various innovations to the original concept. What had started as a neatly landscaped area of low-rise buildings where scientists and researchers work in cramped, low-rent facilities, research parks today are turning into lively communities with an atmosphere that's conducive to a live-work-play lifestyle.

Image source: photos.uc.wisc.edu

New research park plans now include cafés, entertainment spots, and places for hanging out where scientists, research staff, engineers, and entrepreneurs can socialize or work outside of their usual office spaces. Some parks even incorporate nearby, affordable housing for the convenience of these professionals.

The Research Triangle Park (RTP) in North Carolina, one of the oldest and first parks to be built, has revamped the original research complex. It provides 14 miles of bike and jogging trails and has been adding thousands of housing units and retail centers.

When RTP acquired an additional 100-acre land for expansion, it had planned to make it not just a place for working and living, but a place for leisure. Management plans to add cultural attractions as well as a rail path that would connect RTP with the three vertex cities of the triangle. The goal, according to management, is to be able to attract the brightest minds to work in their research park.

Image source: Inhabitat.com

Dr. Russ Lea  is an entrepreneur, higher education consultation, and R&D administrator who has been instrumental to the development of various tech parks and research facilities in the U.S.  Follow this Twitter page for more updates.

Wednesday, August 24, 2016

In Research: Team Motivation Drives Innovation

In the scientific community, research and development is seen as an art. It is a sector where researchers are given the opportunity to develop new technologies that have the potential to change the way society works. It is an exciting field that undercuts the existence of all profitable business ventures and technological initiatives. Professionals who gravitate towards this sector typically have strong academic backgrounds and passion for education.

Image Source: Vanderbilt.edu

Every single R&D program or project is accomplished as a team, which can be considered as a unit of success. Research and development tend to attract creative, imaginative professionals, who should be motivated to nurture their personalities and mindsets as creators. Many studies in psychology have singled out R&D, as a sector where motivation is crucial to employee productivity and innovation among those with artistic temperaments.

Management can motivate in many ways. The most recommended form of motivation are incentives or positive reinforcement. Both financial rewards and praise for good work should be balanced, and leaders should recognize, according to timing, which incentive would work best for their team. Each R&D program is unique given the personalities involved and the output.

Salary increases are relatively straight forward. This is based on a system of meritocracy and promotes a healthy sense of competition, which should also be balanced. Jealousy and resentment could irreversibly ruin team dynamics and consequently, the research project itself.

Meanwhile, even as they are generous with praise, managers should maintain sincerity, as employees can easily pick out disingenuousness.

Image Source: cse.umn.edu

Russ Lea has helped many organizations build and develop their R&D arms. For more information about his work, follow this Twitter account.

Wednesday, August 3, 2016

Communication In Crisis Management: a Research And Development Essential

Image Source: rtci.net
Research and development is built on communication. New forms of thinking have arisen and many professionals are now truly understanding the wisdom in risk and crisis management plans – particularly for their research and development programs. 

There was an aversion to the creation of these plans because these were thought to curry too many limiting. Yet crises are an inevitable occurrence in R&D, and research institutions should know how to conduct themselves in the event of one. 

The most important aspect to any good crisis management plan is communication. This is both intrapersonal and interpersonal. On a local level, departments within the facility should adapt a good communications plan which delegates responsibilities across departments during crises. A well-written action plan sees to such contingency measures. People respond well to built-in safety protocols and a sound action plan significantly reduces panic during a crisis. This fosters good communication within the company or facility. 

Image Source: YouTube.com
On a bigger scale, research groups might have to divulge certain information to the public about crisis situations. It is the right of the public to know how the crisis arose, but most importantly, what is being done to resolve it. Representatives of the organizations have to be able to address all concerns in a calm and clear manner. 

Russ Lea is recognized within the R&D field as an excellent advisor on crisis management and risk potential for R&D projects. To learn more about this sector, view this LinkedIn page.

Friday, June 3, 2016

Quiet The Oceans: The Plan To Save Aquatic Species

For humans, the ocean is a picture of tranquility. People could find oceans silent, with only the movement of waves to be deciphered, but this isn’t the perception of aquatic species. 

Marine animals communicate through sounds. They migrate, locate food, and trace prey using sounds. And with all the noise the humans generate, their form of communication is disrupted. 

Image source: SSPA.se
Throughout the years, oceanic noise pollution has increased because of human activities like industrial work, particularly oil and gas explorations, military exercises, and most especially overseas commercial shipping. Such loud noises cause confusion and distress among marine animals. 

NYTimes.com shares that the rising clamor is dangerous to marine mammals, as the creatures are dependent on their acute hearing to locate food. 

The National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA) then hopes to “silence” the issue through the Ocean Noise Strategy Roadmap. Currently in its drafting stage, the new strategy roadmap is a 1o-year plan to create the world’s first large sound maps using colorful visualizations that will indicate sounds emanating from ocean depths. 

Image source: Youtube.com
At the moment, the team working on this plan is focusing on research about the cumulative effects of sound on ocean animals. Although studies like this have been going on for years, most of them focus on marine mammals like whales and dolphins. However, there’s still a lot to learn according to marine ecologists, especially because the level of ocean noise at present affect various species like shrimps, sea urchins, and other invertebrates, which are harder to analyze. This presents further challenge to the completion of the study. 

In creating the roadmap, scientists do not confine themselves to manmade noise. Climate change, and how it adds to the stress experienced by marine animals, is also tackled. It is said that sound travels faster in warmer water, hence, sound transmission is faster in warming ocean, making marine animals more susceptible to noise. 

NOAA believes that by determining the various effects of sound to aquatic life, it can design better tools for noise reduction and management by 2026. While the goal is clear, NOAA faces far more challenges, including coordination with federal agencies like the Department of Transportation. It must be noted that fleets of global commercial ships are the primary contributor to ocean noise. 

Dr. Russ Lea works with various organizations to build and fund research facilities and tech parks across the country. For more topics related to this, visit this blog.

Monday, May 30, 2016

The Significance of Environmental Science Courses to Students of all Ages

The need for experts in the field of environmental science is at an all-time high. With climate change and other pressing environmental concerns hounding humanity, more practitioners are required to conduct research and development efforts for sustainability projects and climate change mitigation. Universities must develop their existing environmental science programs in order to elevate the level of learning in this field.

 Image source: Statisticbrain.com

Environmental studies must be taught not just in institutions of higher learning but also in primary school, middle school, and high school. Though the subject will not be the main focus in science courses, there must be ample time given to teach the basics as deemed appropriate for the students’ ages.

Studying about the environment also provides the opportunities for students to appreciate nature. Once they have spent a significant time learning about their environment and being in contact with it, they can be inspired to be involved in its preservation. Environmental science also intersects with other fields such as biology, medicine, and even chemistry. As institutions are moving towards a multidisciplinary approach, it is important to exhibit the ties in the different fields of study. Learning in different fields must all contribute to improving the quality of life of humanity.

Image source:  Csla.njit.edu

Dr. Russ Lea is an R&D advocate and a consultant for higher education, environmental issues, innovation, and entrepreneurship. He was part of the North Carolina Research Campus, the Coastal Studies Institute, the University of South Alabama’s Tech Park, and the South East Coastal Ocean Observing System. To know more about his recent projects, visit his website.

Tuesday, April 5, 2016

Synergy Between Science and Technology Parks and Renewable Energy

Science and technology parks (STPs) have played an integral part in the development of many countries. Collaboration among different entities, such as the government, academic, and corporate institutions is a key impetus for groundbreaking innovations and scientific and technological advancement.

But with all the progress of the past decades, concerns about the STPs’ environmental impact have been raised, and should definitely be considered. While breakthroughs in science and technology are certainly welcome developments, environmental sustainability remains a pressing issue.

Image source: techlaunch.arizona.edu
Environmental sustainability is defined as reasonable consumption of resources, whether renewable or non-renewable, and limitation of pollution or waste. And with the state of the environment, projects and initiatives toward environmental sustainability bear a certain urgency.

Solar energy is a clean and free energy resource, a technology that gives STPs the capability to reduce, or even eliminate, the consumption of the usual sources of energy such as fossil fuel and oil. It also reduces gas emissions that pollute the environment and catalyze climate change.

Image source: mainframegroup.net
One such STP that has advanced in solar technology is the University of Arizona Science and Technology Park. In partnership with the different companies, a Solar Farm, with capacity of 22 megawatts and spread over about 170 acres, has been in use for years, and helps power the different facilities and projects of the STP.

When a synergistic relationship between STPs and renewable energy is reached, holistic development can be aspired for. Technological advancement does not have to compromise the environment.  

Dr. Russ Lea is experienced in the field of higher education and environmental leadership, providing his R&D and operational expertise to different research parks and facilities. Learn more about his services on this website.

Wednesday, March 2, 2016

The Advantages of Developing University-based Tech Parks

Universities are a breeding ground for bright young minds that will eventually shape the society. Be it in the field of the sciences, business, or the arts, the goal of higher education is to encourage students and even faculty members to pursue projects that will change the community. These days, the perfect location where students and industry experts can develop new products is in a science and technology park at the heart of a university. 


Image source: Theguardian.com

The goal of a university STP is to be a center where students can develop new products and bring them to the attention of the companies who have the power to take it to more people. As these new projects are being drawn up with the financing of multiple corporations, it creates job opportunities for alumni and other professionals in the area. A good example of this is the South Alabama Tech Park and the University of Arizona Science and Tech Park.

Having a science and technology park is not just an investment for the university it is housed in but also for the local government and multiple businesses that serve as sponsors. As it encourages a partnership between the public and the private, it causes economic growth that everyone in the community can benefit from. The greatest way to enrich the community is to bring together the fields of education, technology, government, and business in one center. 

Image source: Tlists.com
An administrator for research and science, Dr. Russ Lea promoted the startup of faculty corporations and facilitated research processes across institutions, such as building research parks, commercializing innovations, brokering collaborations among the university, industry, and government, and handling intellectual property offices. Learn more about his projects here.

Wednesday, February 17, 2016

Innovation and the Economy: The Merits of a Well-supported R&D Sector

A science park, technology park, or research park is a research and development (R&D) facility that promotes innovation in a wide range of interests. Their goal is to facilitate collaboration between universities and the government in forwarding knowledge and technology for the benefit of the economy. While academic institutions supply the research manpower and intellectual capital, the government and investors take care of funding and the implementation of innovations as entrepreneurial goods.

Image source: umd.edu

 Many countries, particularly those traditionally reliant on agriculture and extractive industries, are now realizing the significance of these science and technology parks in fueling breakthroughs in industry best practices and products. In the business sector, research and development projects often attract substantial investment (such as human resources, capital, and the facility itself), creating more jobs and streamlining businesses processes for the benefit of companies, end users, and customers. In the academe, students are given veritable training grounds where they can sharpen their skills and knowledge sets for future employment or further research.

Last year, the Association of University Research Parks distinguished the University of Maryland Research Park as the Outstanding Research Park of 2015. It is Maryland’s largest research park, with key technology clusters such as environmental and earth sciences, food safety and agriculture policy, and language and national security.

 Image source: patch.com

Dr. Russ Lea works with various organizations in building and funding research facilities and tech parks across the country. To know more about his work, visit this website.